Public Workshops for Ridgecrest Solar Power Project

According to the California Energy Commission (CEC), there will be four public workshops held to discuss the proposed Ridgecrest Solar Power Project.  The workshops will give members of the public an opportunity to discuss or learn more about the recently published staff assessment and environmental impact statement for the project.   The first pair of workshops in April will address water, soil, visual, air, land use, and traffic issues.   The second pair of workshops in May will address biological resources.   You can read more about the staff assessment and EIS on a previous post on this blog.

The workshops will be held on 22 April AND 23 April, and on 3 May and 4 May (biological issues) at the Ridgecrest City Hall at 8AM on each day.  You can also call into the workshop if you cannot attend in person.  The following information is from the CEC e-mail notice:

*Who*: The staff of the California Energy Commission and the Bureau of
Land Management (BLM) will jointly hold a public workshop on the
proposed 250-megawatt Ridgecrest Solar Power Project. The public and
interested parties are invited to attend.
*Where*: Ridgecrest City Hall, Council Chambers, 100 West California
Avenue, Ridgecrest, CA 93555
The public and all interested parties unable to join in person are
encouraged to participate by telephone at: 1-888-946-4720 (toll free in
the U.S. and Canada). The passcode is: 48732


  1. I'll be there!


  2. awesome! I am on the East Coast so unfortunately I will not be able to be there, but if let me know if anything interesting comes up!

  3. The highlights were about water, of course: the basin is in critical overdraft and Solar Millennium's facility may lower the water table 40 feet in most of Ridgecrest over the 30-year lifetime of the project. This is bad. So Solar Millennium is looking at a cash-for-grass program with residents, through the local water district. Also a program of fallowing nearby alfalfa farms will be negotiated. Getting construction water from LADWP aqueduct will not work. Not enough tamarisk to pull to make a difference.

    So even 150 acre-feet/year for operations is difficult to extract from the desert.

    Other hot topics were how much the company is willing to pay for fire/emergency response from Kern County. Leaking Therminol vapors from the solar fields can ignite.

    Dust control will be a big problem, especially during the 32-month construction period--7 million cubic yards of dirt will be moved. Residents were very skeptical the dust can be contained on windy days. Valley fever is an issue.


  4. Thanks Laura for the read-out! The water use is frightening, especially when you compare it to the water demands of the proposed sites that will NOT be dry-cooled. Abengoa would require up to 1,077 acre-feet of water a year...almost ten times more than Ridgecrest. I think the water dilemma is another manifestation of the solar "gold rush", where a the means to a positive end have not been thoroughly thought out. Dust control is another nasty issue, which sadly will most catch attention in sites near population centers.


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